Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Despite complaints from Flint, Michigan, residents, the city's emergency manager and state government insisted that the city's municipal water switch from Lake Huron to the Flint River hadn't caused any problems. However, the city did not use corrosion control, and soon lead from the old pipes began leaching into the water at extremely high levels. When she learned in August 2015 that the water wasn't safe, author Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and researcher, first thought of her patients. Knowing the devastating effects of lead on childhood development, she began organizing a study of lead levels in children's blood before and after Flint switched its water source. Despite resistance from the state to share data, her research became key to proving the Flint water was unsafe and that the government had been denying the crisis for more than a year. Hanna-Attisha infuses her story with context from her own family history, the development of public health as a field, and background on political changes in Michigan. Told with passion and intelligence, What the Eyes Don't See is an essential text for understanding the full scope of injustice in Flint and the importance of fighting for what's right. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

This gripping, frequently shocking story of environmental injustice in 21st-century America is a firsthand account by the pediatrician whose conviction and irrefutable research exposed the Flint, MI, water crisis. In April 2014, Flint's residents, including more than 8,000 children, were exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water from the Flint River. In August 2015, a dinner conversation precipitated author Hanna-Attisha's quest to learn the truth about the water in the community she served. In September, after a blur of coalition-building, the author released the research that uncovered horrible realities (countered by obfuscation and stonewalling at nearly all levels of government). In January 2016, Flint was finally placed under a state of emergency. An eloquent storyteller as well as a tireless advocate, Hanna-Attisha weaves aspects of Michigan's automobile industry, racially discriminatory urban planning practices, the brutality of toxic stress, and stories of her Iraqi forebears into a fast-paced and thoroughly chronicled public health disaster. VERDICT Essential for all readers who care about children, health, and the environment. This should be required reading for public servants as an incisive cautionary tale, and for pediatricians and youth advocates as a story of heroism in the ranks of people who have the capacity to make a difference.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

This powerful firsthand account from Hanna-Attisha recalls her efforts to alert government officials to the public health disaster caused by lead in the water supply of Flint, Mich. In April 2014, as a cost-cutting measure, Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which had been a "toxic industrial dumping site for decades." Hanna-Attisha, who directs the pediatric residency program at Hurley Medical Center, where many of Flint's poor children are treated, received a tip about lead levels and realized her patients were particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. She recounts how state and local government officials ignored her requests for data, deflected responsibility, downplayed the threat, and tried to discredit the findings of her study, conducted with help from a corrosion expert, which found that the percentage of children with blood-lead elevations had doubled after the switch. That study eventually proved to be the "game-changer" that resulted in the state's declaring a public health emergency and switching the water source back to Lake Huron. Hanna-Attisha's empathy for her patients and the people of Flint comes through, as do her pride in her Iraqi roots and her persistent optimism. It's an inspiring work, valuable for anybody who wants to understand Flint's recent history. (June)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.